Digital Shorts

In place of the 14th annual Next Stage Theatre Festival, Toronto Fringe will be presenting The Next Stage Community Booster. This four-day event will be a boost of energy, ideas, creativity, and friendship for those enduring an isolated pandemic winter.

We will feature digital performances from acclaimed indie artists, livestreamed conversations on urgent topics, online workshops that focus on mental health and self-care, and (if permitted by public health) socially distanced outdoor gatherings for small groups.  The event will take place from January 21 – 24, 2021 online at and potentially with limited capacity outdoors.  More programming details will be announced in December. 

Digital Shorts presented in partnership with TO Live

The digital performance programming will feature a series of six Digital Shorts, co-commissioned by Toronto Fringe in partnership with TO Live. We are currently seeking submissions from artists across the Greater Toronto Area for this series. Six collectives (featuring ensembles of 2-4 performers) will be selected by the Toronto Fringe to create a 5 - 10 minute piece that will be filmed on the stage at the Jane Mallett Theatre.

Through our partnership with TO Live, artists will have access to the stage of the Jane Mallett Theatre, which will be set up with a film crew for a minimum two camera shoot, as well as access to a cinematographer and film editor to create their piece. The final piece will premiere on during the Next Stage Community Booster (Jan 21 – 24, 2021). 

While there is no specific theme that submissions must adhere to, we offer this framing question as a jumping-off point for those who may find it useful: In this time of personal reflection and radical change, what are you learning about yourself as an artist or a person? 

Toronto Fringe actively prioritizes applications from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities, 2SLGBTQ+ identified persons as well as Deaf, Mad and disability-identified persons.   

Details of the Program

Artist Compensation: Each collective will be offered a fee of $250 per performer, up to a max of $1000 per collective, for participation in the Digital Shorts series. After the piece premieres on the Fringe website in January, any revenue generated from audience tips or donations will go to the Fringe’s Tip the Fringe campaign.

Cost to Apply: There is no cost to apply. 

Filming: Through our partnership with TO Live, artists will have access to the stage of the Jane Mallett Theatre for the filming of their piece with a 2 camera shoot. If accepted into the Digital Shorts series, artists will be offered a parcel of time on the stage to record the piece. Filming will take place on December 15th and 16th, 2020. The collectives must have a designated director who will work with the cinematographer to direct the shoot. All social distancing rules that apply to film sets will be adhered to. Applicants should note that while the house of the Jane Mallett Theatre is accessible, the raised staged is not fully physically accessible. Please indicate if any members of your ensemble use a mobility device in your application so that we can address a strategy to use the space. Selected artists should prepare a rough at-home recording of the piece in order to send to the cinematographer and effectively coordinate ahead of the shoot. Theatrical lighting will be available, but no other special effects will be (i.e. haze).

Accessibility: All Digital Shorts will be expected to meet the Fringe’s standards of accessibility, including transcripts and captions. The artists/collectives will be asked to provide a full show transcript, and the captions will be added to the video file by members of the Fringe support team. 

Accommodations: If you would like to discuss accommodations to the application process, please let us know and we would happily modify any of the stages above to meet your needs. Please reach out to Festival Management Intern Suzanne Wilkie ( to discuss.

Eligibility: This program is open to artists from the Greater Toronto Area. Ensembles should include 2-4 performers. There are no further qualifications – you may be in any phase of your career (emerging, established) and use any mode of storytelling (dance, theatre, improv, sketch, music, etc.). The geographical restriction is in place for two reasons: 

  1. With public health in mind, to not encourage travel from one jurisdiction to another. 
  2. To ensure that the selected artists are able to access the filming location easily. 

NEW - Theatre Specs: We have acquired theatre specifications and lighting grid documents from the Jane Mallett Theatre.

Application Deadline:  Applications are now open and will close Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12pm. Submissions will be reviewed as they are received. Please click this link to fill out the application form. Artists will be notified of their acceptance into the series by Tuesday, December 8, 2020.   

Click here to apply

Application Materials: If applying, please submit the following via the form linked above:

  1. A bio/CV as a PDF
  2. A brief statement about your performance
  3. Your script as a PDF (for movement-based pieces such as dance: a detailed explanation including links to video in the PDF) 
  4. List of members of your collective, including names and positions/casting, who will be on-site for filming

If you have questions, please let us know. Reach out to Festival Management Intern Suzanne Wilkie ( to discuss your project.